Friday, February 26, 2010

DAL-ATL Game Review: Broken Record

We'll make this simple.

Hawks start slow.

Hawks come back and lead game.

Dallas goes zone.

Hawks shoot jump shots.

Dallas scores, and scores, and takes the lead.

A late technical foul helps game into overtime.

Dallas stays in zone.

Atlanta remains outside, missing jump shots.

Dallas remains outside, making jump shots.

Dallas scoring, Hawks snoring.

Game over.

Atomic Dog

It's fitting that Jason Terry was in the house tonight, because we have to give a Jason Terry tip-of-the-cap to Jason Kidd, who absolutely, without question, won this game for the Mavs.

Yes, yes, Dirk Nowitzki was great--(37 points on 15-26 shooting). But Kidd had an unreal triple-double, laying down a 19/17/16 line--the first of such kind since Magic Johnson did the trick in 1989.

When Kidd entered the game in the fourth quarter, the Hawks held an 86-71 lead with 8:23 left to play. From that point on, the Mavericks outscored the Hawks 40-17. Kidd had (9) points and (7) assists the rest of the way, including a sure-to-be-discussed play where Kidd saw Mike Woodson directing his team on the court, ran full speed towards the coach, then threw a forearm into Woodson while he had just barely made it back off the court. Not only did Kidd get away with initiating contact like that, the Mavericks were awarded a technical foul for interference on Woodson.

Some call this veteran or savvy. We call it a "jerk" move.

Woodson was off the court, Kidd initiated contact, with a forearm shiver no less. It's not basketball, yet there it was.

Still, it had nothing to do with Kidd killing the Hawks with threes (3 of them in that run) or leading the charge of standing around in a zone while the Hawks continued to try to shoot over it with no success over and over again. And it certainly didn't take away from the statistically incredible night Kidd had. Bravo.

Blame Game

There will be plenty--there often is in games such as this. You can point to Woodson for his lack of adjustments to the zone or his sojourn onto the court which led to the Kidd nonsense.

Al Horford was terrible all night---losing Haywood on the glass, shooting 4-16 and missing a free throw down the stretch. He had his shot blocked (4) times, making himself awfully small around the hoop. His ineffectiveness was especially painful given the shooting struggles the Hawks had late.

Joe Johnson had a statistically tremendous game (27 points, 10 assists, 11-21 shooting), but he forced shots late and had a forgettable bit of basketball late that helped force overtime. Johnson was backing Barea down in the post, leveraging more than one forearm to Barea's chest in doing so, and then missed the short range shot. Johnson jogged back down and then, with his feet out of position, lost Jason Terry as the Jet took the ball baseline. Josh Smith rushed down to help only to watch Terry zip the ball back out to the top to Nowitzki, who slung it over to Kidd who hit yet another three pointer to give the Mavericks a two point lead.

Jamal Crawford took nine 3-pointers and missed seven of them. His coldness enabled a team high (low?) -14 for the night.

The team's transition defense was shaky throughout the game, which especially hurt when those long jump shots (The Hawks attempted 26 threes, 9 more than their average per game) went the other way.  The ESPN TV team of Dan Shulman and Hubie Brown were calling them One and Done and the Mavericks were taking advantage the other way.

When teams go zone, one of the keys is to attack the middle, penetrate, get to the line. The Hawks decided they would shoot over it, and it failed. At the time that Kidd checked back into the game, the Hawks had attempted (18) free throws. For the last (13) minutes of the game, they would attempt (3) more and make only one.

Any NBA player will tell you about how teams always make runs, which is why it's so surprising that those same players on the court seem to forget that when they have a big lead. It's too bad tonight, because the Hawks had overcome their early game misery to play fantastic basketball, especially Josh Smith, who put an 18/11/8/7 (steals) up for the home team, only to watch himself fall into the same traps the team falls into--the chase for the glory of the made jump shot. They were in position to drop the 4th best Western Conference team--and let it go.

Zones, Jump Shots, and Jason Kidd.




CoCo said...

All I can say is Josh Smith's line would have been something to marvel at had he not been in the same game with Jason Kidd. Joe played like a max player (led by Josh) for 3 quarters, then he proceeded to suck. See, a max player is supposed to step up in the 4th, not shrink.

Jason Walker said...

JJ Barea thought Joe was stepping up---onto his throat. Didn't work.

Josh disappeared when the zone went in---would have liked to have seen Josh running to the middle instead of Al tonight. Josh was going too good to turn him into a spectator--but that's what happened.

CoCo said...

So the usual? You know this game was bad if it made me do a recap on my vacation. Hahah. Well, not a recap, but a post....

Unknown said...

Woodson is an idiot. He should've gotten the hell off the floor. Kidd made a smart play to run into him. It changed the game! Smart play for the Mavs. Idiot coach for the Hawks.

Anonymous said...

It might have been a smart play but it was "bushleague" at best. They had the momentum. The refs could have called him for stepping out of bounds. Woodson was off the court when contact was made

Anonymous said...

Would it be a bush league play for Matt Ryan to throw at a cornerback who had just come in for an injured teammate? Or would it be just taking advantage of a situation to help his team win?

Woodson was clearly outside the coach's box whether he was on the floor or not. Apparently he was there most of the night. That's a technical foul. Kidd forced the issue by making contact. Looks to me like he took advantage of a situation to help his team win.

Jason Walker said...

Say what you want, I think it was a jerk move and beneath Kidd to go that route.

He had to reach out and give the Atlanta head coach a forearm shiver to "get the ref's attention". Why not just throw the ball off his face?

It was weak, but legal, and I truly believe it had little to do with what ultimately happened in this game.

The Mavs went zone, the Hawks failed in their attempt to outshoot the Mavs, and Dallas won.

Jason Walker said...

I just noticed that Mike Fisher included us in a roundup of Hawks takes on the Kidd play. Thank you, Mike!

Check out his take here:

Also noticed he mentioned that tossing the ball off Woodson's face would have earned the move the "jerk" tag I gave it. Nuance.

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